ICMR Releases New Dietary Guidelines to Promote Health in India

ICMR Indian Council of Medical Research

Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by The Health Master


Guidelines: Unhealthy diets are a major threat to public health in India, contributing to over half (56.4%) of the total disease burden according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

To combat this issue, the ICMR, along with the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), has unveiled a set of 17 science-backed dietary guidelines designed to empower Indians to make informed food choices and prevent chronic diseases.

Eat Your Way to Health

The NIN emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet and regular physical activity for reducing the risk of major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertension (HTN), and type 2 diabetes.

Research suggests that healthy lifestyle choices can prevent up to 80% of type 2 diabetes cases and significantly reduce premature deaths.

The rise in popularity of highly processed foods packed with sugar and unhealthy fats, coupled with declining physical activity levels and limited access to a variety of fresh produce, is creating a double whammy.

This trend is leading to a rise in overweight and obesity issues, while simultaneously causing micronutrient deficiencies.

The ICMR-NIN Dietary Guidelines for Indians

The new Dietary Guidelines for Indians (DGIs) offer practical and actionable steps for individuals and families to adopt healthier eating habits.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Limit Salt and Fat: The guidelines recommend reducing salt intake and using healthy oils and fats in moderation.
  • Move Your Body: Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health.
  • Say No to Sugar and Ultra-Processed Foods: Minimize your intake of sugary drinks and highly processed foods.
  • Read Food Labels: Become a label-reading pro to make informed choices about the food you consume.
  • Embrace a Diverse Diet: Consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups.

A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to National Nutrition

The DGIs were meticulously crafted by a team of experts led by Dr. Hemalatha R, Director of ICMR-NIN.

These guidelines are based on robust scientific evidence and aim to achieve the goals outlined in the National Nutrition Policy.

Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Director General of ICMR, acknowledges the significant changes in Indian dietary habits over recent decades. He highlights the need to address both the rise in NCDs and persisting undernutrition issues.

“These guidelines have been specifically designed to address the evolving food landscape in India,” Dr. Bahl states. “They provide practical advice on food safety, choosing minimally processed options, understanding food labels, and incorporating physical activity.”

“I believe these guidelines will significantly contribute to the government’s efforts in promoting holistic nutrition and public health.”

A Call to Action

The NIN sheds light on the concerning prevalence of high triglycerides in children as young as 5-9 years old, highlighting the need for early intervention.

The DGIs recommend a balanced diet that derives no more than 45% of calories from cereals and millets, with up to 15% coming from pulses, beans, and meat.

The remaining calories should be obtained from a diverse range of nutrient-rich options like nuts, vegetables, fruits, and milk.

The NIN emphasizes the importance of addressing limited availability and high costs of pulses and meat, which force many Indians to rely heavily on cereals.

This overdependence can lead to deficiencies in essential macronutrients (essential amino acids and essential fatty acids) and micronutrients.

A lack of these vital nutrients can disrupt metabolism and increase the risk of insulin resistance and associated health problems from a young age.

By adopting the ICMR-NIN Dietary Guidelines for Indians and prioritizing access to nutrient-rich foods, India can take a significant step towards promoting public health and reducing the burden of chronic diseases.

Disclaimer: This article contains information derived from the source mentioned below. Our team utilized an AI language model to rewrite and present the news or article in a unique format.

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